Emma: A Novel. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice.”

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more": Rare First Edition of Jane Austen's Emma

Emma: A Novel. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice.”



Item Number: 120465

London: John Murray, 1816.

First edition of the final novel published during Austen’s lifetime. Small octavo, 3 volumes, bound in contemporary three quarters leather, gilt titles to the spine. With the publisher’s advertisements on the verso of the last page of Vol. III. In near fine condition with light toning. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example, most rare and desirable in this condition and in a contemporary binding.

After many publishing delays, Austen decided to self-finance the publication of Emma, paying printer John Murray a 10% commission and retaining the remaining profits. "Emma was the fourth and last novel which Jane Austen published in her lifetime. When it was written the author was at the height of her powers, and she wrote the book rapidly and surely, encouraged by the success of her previous novels to express herself with confidence in the way peculiarly her own" (Rosenbach 29:24). "Jane Austen's fourth novel has a profundity similar to that of Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, only more elusive since Emma's character is far more subtle than Elizabeth or Marianne's… Austen's self-knowledge, her love of detail… [helped her] to create a proud, self-willed, self-guided, vexing and outrageous Emma and her greatest novel" (Honan, Jane Austen, 356-364). The novel has been adapted into several films, televised programs, and plays including the 1996 period film of the same name starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, and Jeremy Northam.

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